Columbo: Season 3, Episode 6

Mind Over Mayhem (10 Feb. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 755 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 5 critic

The director of a government institute that employs various scientific geniuses commits a clever murder. But another kind of genius is on the case: Lt. Columbo.



(teleplay), (teleplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Mind Over Mayhem (10 Feb 1974)

Mind Over Mayhem (10 Feb 1974) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Marshall Cahill (as Jose Ferrer)
Dr. Howard Nicholson
Neil Cahill (as Robert Walker)
Steve Spelberg (as Lee H. Montgomery)
Margaret Nicholson
Lou Wagner ...
Arthur Batanides ...
Murph (as Art Batanides)
Darrell Zwerling ...
Motel Manager
Charles Macaulay ...
John Zaremba ...
William Bryant ...
Bert Holland ...
Ed Fury ...
Jefferson Kibbee ...


Dr. Marshall Cahill is the director of a government institute that employs various scientific geniuses, including the elderly Dr. Nicholson, who knows that Cahill's son Neil has plagiarized a dead man's theory of molecular structure. When Nicholson threatens exposure, Dr. Cahill murders him and cleverly makes the killing look like the job of a heroin junkie who needed his fix. But clever or not, another kind of genius is on the case: the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

10 February 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(dvd release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "black boxes" used to program MM7 are actually eight-track cartridges. See more »


Dr. Marshall Cahill: [to Columbo] You know, you have a very transparent mind, which in no way implies clear thinking.
See more »


References Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Very entertaining
15 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I may be biased, as I have always loved Columbo, but I really liked Mind Over Mayhem and found it very entertaining. Is it one of the best Columbos? No. But it is far from the worst. The story is very clever and absorbing overall, but has some implausibilities, I was confused about the purpose of the brandy glass and I didn't find it very easy to believe that a murderer so intelligent would trip himself up so badly and obviously with the cigar. I think these two could have been avoided, if the episode was 5 minutes longer. On the other, as usual it is a beautifully shot episode, with a fitting music score and great episode, Cahill's " have a very transparent mind..." being the best of the entire episode. Peter Falk is as ever sublime as Columbo, with great comic timing and his scenes with Ferrer's Cahill beautifully dynamic. Jose Ferrer is excellent, his character Cahill very intelligent and pompous. Robert Walker Jnr and Lew Ayres also give good performances, and it was a joy seeing Robby the Robot and he is well used. The reference to Steven Spielberg is unsubtle I give you that, but I didn't see it as much of a problem. All in all, entertaining and definitely worth seeing. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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